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Crispy pata is another of the sinful ways Filipinos love their pork. In this party fare mainstay, a whole pork leg is simmered in spices until fork-tender, refrigerated overnight to dry and then deep-fried until the meat is moist and succulent and the skin golden and crisp.The recipe calls for adding a small amount of water to the hot oil at the end of cooking to achieve a nicely-blistered rind. As in any kitchen activity, please practice caution and be wary of hot oil splatters.


  • 1 whole pork leg
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 1 (12 ounces) 7-up or Sprite
  • 6 cups + ¼ cup water
  • 1 head garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 tablespoon peppercorns
  • 3 bay leaves
  • ⅓ cup salt
  • 4 cups oil
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • For the Dipping Sauce
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • ¼ soy sauce
  • 2 shallots, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 Thai chili peppers, peeled and minced
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. With a knife, scrape any stray hairs on pork leg and trim off nails.
  2. In a large pot over medium heat, combine pork leg, vinegar, 7-up, 6 cups of the water, garlic, peppercorns, bay leaves and salt. Bring to a boil, skimming scum that may accumulate to top. Lower heat, cover and then simmer for about 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until meat is tender. If the meat is drying before it is fully cooked, add more water in 1 cup increments.
  3. Drain pork leg, discarding liquid and aromatics. Place on a rack and allow to dry, uncovered, in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours or overnight. Before frying, rub the outside skin with fish sauce and lightly sprinkle with flour.
  4. In a large pot over medium heat, heat about 4 to 5 cups of oil. Gently add pork leg and deep-fry, turning as needed, until golden. Turn off heat and carefully pour the remaining ¼ cup of the water on the pork (this will further crisp the skin). Remove from heat and drain on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Serve hot with dipping sauce.

Dipping Sauce

  1. In a small bowl, combine vinegar, soy sauce, shallots, garlic, chili peppers and salt and pepper to taste. Stir well.

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